Studying ethics as policy: The naming and framing of moral problems in genetic research

Klaus Hoeyer*, Charles L. Bosk, Wendy Espeland, Carol Heimer, Susan E. Kelly, Kevin Meethan, Cris Shore, Pat Spallone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This article reports on a study of an ethics policy developed by a start-up genomics company at the time it gained all commercial rights to a population-based biobank in northern Sweden. Work in the anthropology of policy has been used as inspiration to "study through"-to identify how the policy took shape, to follow it through to the networks in which it took on social life, and finally to probe its social implications, in particular among the people for whom and on whom it was supposed to work. It is argued that as ethics takes the form of policy work, it tends to be so preoccupied with presenting solutions that it overlooks critical understanding and assessment of problems. It is suggested that anthropology might play a complementary role to the policy work of ethics by reintroducing otherwise marginalized moral voices and positions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S71-S90
JournalCurrent Anthropology
Issue numberSUPPL.5
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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